Canada’s self-proclaimed "Crypto King" Aiden Pleterski was kidnapped, tortured, and held for ransom after allegedly fleecing investors out of millions, court documents filed earlier this month claim.
Pleterski was petitioned into bankruptcy last August, and the 23-year-old is accused of running an investment scheme. Since bankruptcy proceedings began, $25 million Canadian worth of claims have been filed in his case.
Pleterski had told investors he would pool their money together and invest it in cryptocurrency and foreign exchange positions. But of the $41.5 million he received, Pleterski allegedly invested only $670,000, less than 2% of the total amount.
Meanwhile, Pleterski allegedly spent close to $16 million on his “personal lifestyle,” which involved renting private jets, going on elaborate vacations, and purchasing exotic vehicles, such as “a Ferrari, four Audis, three Lamborghinis, three McLarens, a Land Rover, and a BMW.”
In December, the bankruptcy case’s trustee Rob Stelzer was notified by Toronto Police that Pleterski had been kidnapped. Documents filed on March 14 included testimony from Pleterski’s father, Dragan Pleterski.
“He was taken,” Pleterski’s father said. “They basically held him for approximately three days, drove him around different various parts of Southern Ontario, beat him, tortured him, allowed him to make specific phone calls to specific people only.”
One of the people Pleterski contacted while in captivity was his landlord, Sandeep Gupta. Pleterski asked Gupta for $3 million to pay his kidnappers, according to the court documents.
Pleterski’s father testified that his son was eventually released, under the condition that he quickly find money to pay his kidnappers and refrain from contacting law enforcement.
“He was released with the threat that he needed to come up with some money fast, and if he had went to the police, that there would be a lot more trouble,” Pleterski’s father said.
According to Pleterski’s testimony, trouble first emerged for the 23-year-old in November 2021, when he claimed to lose all of his investments at a time when crypto markets began to reverse from their all-time highs.
As his losses began to mount, he said he took very aggressive positions to try and “get some people their money back.”
“I essentially tried to redeem myself [...] but obviously in doing so, I guess you could say greed took over,” he testified. “I was trying to make returns that obviously weren't feasible or weren't necessarily possible at the time, and it just caused more losses.”